Ok here's an update on my new Mariner. I've had it just over 2 weeks and it's been a real pleasure to live with. And yesterday's Thanksgiving holiday travel really helped the Mariner prove it's worth. As expected gas milage is improving on almost a daily basis. And the switch to the automatic paid big dividends in the 2 hour bumper to bumper traffic on both legs of my journey. One thing that I almost laughed at when I bought it but now love is the blind spot mirrors. At first glance I was thinking this was too small a vehicle to need them, but with all the bumper to bumper snaking around accidents on the Thruway and Parkway they really were a life saver.
I had a full load of passengers and leftovers coming home, and everyone was impressed with the ride comfort, even the back seat. Since I will never ride back there I hadn't really considered this, so it's a bonus that it's so nice.
The SYNC system's Bluetooth really made it easy, as I was receiving and making calls from the road in bumper to bumper traffic without any distraction. The voice command dialling and clear display high up on the dash meant that I didn't ram into the idiot that cut me off on I-87.
My sister who loves her Explorer but is wanting a smaller more efficient vehicle next spring liked my little Mercury so much that she's putting on her list for consideration. Her real goal is the Ford Edge, but the Escape/Mariner make a nice second choice. She was thrilled when I told her it's a 4 cyl and what milage I'm achieving.